MAJOR drain on our health service’s resources is caused by the abuse of alcohol, as emergency departments – especially at the weekends – have to deal with the fall-out from it at an estimated cost of €2bn annually to the Irish taxpayer. The human cost of it is a lot more far reaching, as it’s not just the abusers who suffer, but also their families and friends and others who have to deal with them.
It is estimated that three people per day die in Ireland as a result of ‘our harmful relationship with alcohol,’ according to Alcohol Health Alliance Ireland, chaired by Prof Frank Murray, president of the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland. He has welcomed the latest guidelines for alcohol consumption in the UK, which stated that, when they were last compiled there in 1995, the harmful effects of alcohol were underestimated and the beneficial effect of alcohol (if any) were exaggerated.
They now maintain that there is no safe level of alcohol consumption and that there are no health benefits from drinking, debunking the long-held theory that red wine in moderation can be good for one’s health. The recommended low-risk level has been reduced to the Irish equivalent about 11 standard drinks, the same for both men and women, because of the higher risk of injury and accidents amongst men who binge drink.
These guidelines certainly provide some thought-provoking recommendations.